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Wick's Review

Created Nov 27, 2011 11:54AM PST • Edited Jul 05, 2012 07:22PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Looking for a real vampire movie? Baroque, bloody, bawdy, not to mention strict with the rules, Interview with the Vampire fits the bill. Indeed, Anne Rice’s celebrated novel led to a quintessential vampire movie: star powered, obsessively detailed and expansively imagined. Even mature movie fans who disdain horror can appreciate Interview. No Twilight teenybopper saga this.

    The star power starts with Brad Pitt, albeit in one of his less impressive performances. Still, Brad Pitt as the understudy! To whom? Tom Cruise as the vampire Lestat, the role that made Cruise a multiple threat movie star, as great an anti-hero as he’d been time and again as the hero.

    Yet the stars don’t end with Brad and Tom. The third member of their “family” made her movie star debut as a little girl vampire. That would be Kirsten Dunst, now triumphing as the star of Melancholia.

    But wait, three stars aren’t enough for this vampire chronicle. Neil Jordan got Antonio Bandaras to play Armand, the Parisian vampire. Yes, this movie spends time with vampires in Paris, and they’re just as you hope they may be.

    Pitt’s Louis de Pointe du Lac details his life as a vampire in an interview to Christian Slater’s San Francisco hipster writer, leading to glorious scenes of the Golden Gate Bridge drained pale by the light of the moon. It also means that the Vampire Rules are detailed and celebrated, in stark contrast to the Twilight Saga’s willy-nilly goings-on.

    Rice’s novel touches down across the centuries in New Orleans, Paris and San Francisco, an epic itinerary which the redoubtable Jordan directs into an expansively imagined movie.

    Real vampire movie though it is, it isn’t really that scary. It’s too bright for that. Or maybe I’ve finally outgrown the fear that humans can defy several basic laws of nature in order to lead really spectacular nightlives.

    If you haven’t, expect to be scared. Very scared.

  3. Great 4.0

    Tom Cruise’s terribly seductive performance as the vampire Lestat earned him Anne Rice’s undying adulation, after she first excoriated him pre-filming for being completely unfit for the role. Whoops. Tom proved just as terrific a bloodsucker as a race driver, fighter pilot and Navy lawyer.

    Kirsten Dunst wasn’t even a teenager when she made the movie, commenting recently on NPR’s Fresh Air that Neil Jordan explained her motivations in childish terms that were appropriate for her at the time, that Tom and Brad were very kind to her, and that her parents didn’t let her see the finished movie. Well, her performance is great. So that worked out.

    Brad Pitt delivers a wan performance, even for an ambivalent undead guy.

    Antonio Bandaras is perfect as the head Parisian vampire in one of his first English language starring roles.

    Other notables:

    • Stephen Rea – a Neil Jordan favorite – is mesmerizing as a conniving Parisian vampire.
    • Thandie Newton has a bit part, though makes a heavingly strong impression.
    • Christian Slater is OK.
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0

    Cruise was perfect, Pitt good.

  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Good 3.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Director Neil Jordan and writer Anne Rice get great mileage out of vampires as people without limitations, or more specifically people with relaxed and different limitations. This gives them license to explore nihilistic hedonism, a classic film theme.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Very Good 3.5
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.1

    Lots of sexualized bloodsucking.

  15. Sex Erotic 2.6
  16. Violence Savage 3.8
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.8
  18. Supernatural 3.7

    Dozens of FX artists and techs, plus plenty more “vampire makeup” artists, yet only a dozen stuntmen were a sign of things to come, even in ’94. If you can do it via FX, who needs stunts? Lestat might need to share with stuntmen some secrets for not getting killed, career-wise.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0

    The human population would crash given the scale of the human harvest the vampires take.

  20. Biological Fantasy 4.2
  21. Physical Supernatural 3.9

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